Musings on L’Amica: the Female Friend

Every Day Oracle
© Lo Scarabeo, 2007

I’m in love with La Vera Sibilla, so I can’t help feeling moved to write about my favorite Sibilla Cards. They are not necessarily the most favorable cards in the deck, but they’re always helpful and dependable, even when they’re surrounded by the heavy black suit, Picche— also known as Spades. One such card, the one I want to muse on today, is L’Amica.

L’Amica is the Female Friend, but she can also represent friendship in a general sense— similar to the Dog in Lenormand. L’Amica brings valuable aid, especially when she appears upside-down. She can be a safe harbor in a dark storm. She won’t make all of your problems disappear, but she will lend a sympathetic ear, provide support, and offer good advice to help you navigate the choppy waters. She is a symbol of harmony, tranquility and peace.

The Suit of Fiori (Clubs) is the most fortunate suit in the Sibilla deck, and L’Amica is a Club— the 4 of Clubs. So this card has a bit of positive weight behind it. The exception is when she represents an actual person in a reading. Then L’Amica would be considered neutral because her influence will depend on surrounding cards.

Sibilla ‘800
© Dal Negro, 2003
Translated keywords: “at the house of a friend or acquaintance, the future will play out with harmony of purpose”

As a person Card, L’Amica represents a female ally, traditionally a dark-haired woman. But in a reading she can represent any female who is amicably disposed toward you. She may be your sister, daughter, aunt, sister-in-law, female cousin, friendly acquaintance, etc. But she will never represent the female querent herself. She is usually someone you know, and not a complete stranger. Her attitude toward you, and her influence in your life will depend on the surrounding cards. With Spades, she could be a false friend or a jealous relative. But with happy cards, she is a loyal, supportive, helpful and dependable friend.

The 4 of Clubs can also denote a comfortable place. This idea is represented by the card image as an affable lady offering a chair in her comfortable home. So L’Amica can describe the home of a friend— a safe place of refuge and support. This card can also represent your place of work where you are known and respected. Any society or organization of people with the common goal of providing you service may be represented by this card. She can represent a social club, where you find rest and recreation. Or she may symbolize a corporate entity where you have business interests. The combination of L’Amica and Allegria traditionally represents a party at the home of a friend, but this combination will often denote a restaurant or bar in my cards. L’Amica is a friendly place, and Allegria is food and drink.

In a health reading, L’Amica can represent medical advice or a health recommendation. The following cards will usually show the outcome of following the prescribed treatment. This card can also represent a helpful medical professional. I regularly see a Nurse Practitioner, and she appears in my cards as L’Amica.

When reversed, L’Amica retains her positive influence. The help she provides is often more tangible when she appears in a reading upside-down. The assistance may be financial in nature. She may provide an invaluable recommendation, or just solid and useful advice. She represents someone who can put in a good word for you.

The reading that inspired today’s musings was done for a middle-aged woman who was laid off from her job. The layoff was possibly temporary as the company promised that they would be able to bring some of the laid off workers back on board. The lady wanted to know if her position would be reinstated. I drew a Sibilla Line of Five to answer a direct question.

The line opens with the Clergyman (Sacerdote). He represents someone or something official. The pivot card at the center is the Comforting Surprise (Consolante Sorpresa) which indicates an unexpected turn of events for the better. The line ends with the Meeting (La Riunione). This is the card of returns and reconciliations. There isn’t a better card that could end the row for a positive response to the question. Without even looking at the other two cards in the line, I feel confident in predicting the querent’s return to work.

But let’s take a look at the other cards for confirmation and further clarification…

The Clergyman is followed by the card Consumed by Jealousy (Disperato per Gelosia). This combination suggests some kind of legal crisis that the company is facing— perhaps tax issues since Consolate Sorpresa hints of a financial matter. This could be the reason behind the layoffs.

If L’Amica had fallen upright my first impression would have been to read her as representing the company itself. This is still a valid interpretation since many Sibilla cards share the distinction of bearing the same meanings when upright or reversed. But the reversed cards will also carry their own distinct meanings. In this case, the reversed meaning that jumped out at me for the reversed L’Amica was “a recommendation.” I got the sense that a friend at work would put in a good word for the querent, and this would lead to her being called back to work (Riunione).

That is precisely what happened. The querent’s immediate supervisor was asked to recommend several employees for rehire. The querent was called back to work three weeks after the reading.

I love to see L’Amica in a reading because regardless of how challenging the situation may be, there is someone in your corner to offer guidance and help. But then again, a friend may not always be what she or he appears to be. This is also important to discover. The cards to watch for with L’Amica that can make her less than helpful include Falsità and Disperato per Gelosia. With Falsità she can two-faced, and not to be trusted. With Gelosia she can be envious or jealous and possessive. The card falling next to L’Amica will describe her influence in your life.

I enjoy these musings because they help me to consolidate my own knowledge, and to share my experiences reading the Sibilla cards. These cards can seem intimidating. I write about how the cards work for me, and hope my words will inspire new readers of Sibilla to experiment in order to discover how the cards speak to you.

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Musings on Fedeltà: the Sibilla Dog

Fedeltà is another of my favorite Sibilla Cards, and I am always happy to see it fall in a reading. Well… almost always happy. When it comes up reversed or accompanied by unsavory companions, Fedeltà can be disastrous.

If you are familiar with Lenormand— as most folks seem to be these days, you may naturally want to interpret Fedeltà like the Lenormand Dog. This comparison can be misleading. Although Fedeltà can sometimes refer to friendship, or represent a friend, it is predominantly a card of love, romance and happy endings.

If you read Kipper Cards, you’ll do better to compare Fedeltà to the Kipper card Good Outcome in Love— which also features a dog in the image. As long as Fedeltà is not negatively aspected, it indicates that everything will turn out as it should. Promises are carried out faithfully, and agreements are honored with integrity.

Fedeltà is a member of the Suit of Hearts which is mainly about feelings. More specifically Fedeltà is the 9 of Hearts. In most Cartomancy systems, the 9 of Hearts is the wish card. It spreads love and good will wherever it appears. But it is important to note that Hearts are a weak suit, and Fedeltà can shrivel up and die when exposed to one of the more powerful Spade cards. But when surrounded by Clubs, a strong positive suit, Fedeltà flourishes.

I did a reading recently for a young woman who was concerned about a sum of money that had turned up missing from her place of work. She wanted to know if the money had been stolen, who the culprit was, and if the money would be recovered. In a Line of Five Nemica appeared as the center card indicating to me that the culprit was a woman. On her left was the sneaky cat Falsità. These cards can denote a dangerous enemy. But the line started with Fortuna which can ameliorate the negative cards in the spread. To the right of the Female Enemy was Bambino (Child) and Fedeltà. My impression was that Falsità and Bambino were referring to an innocent mistake. This interpretation is supported by the appearance of Fortuna, which can show a twist of fate. Fedeltà ending the line promised that the money would be recovered, and all would end well. And that is exactly what happened. The funds had been accidentally misapplied by a female coworker. The error was corrected and situation was happily resolved.

With happy cards, Fedeltà is a strong testimony for a yes answer in response to a yes-or-no question.

The idea of loyalty and friendship will usually apply only when Fedeltà falls with a person card. It will describe a faithful lover or a trustworthy friend. Otherwise this card will more likely refer to a love affair, or to a happy outcome. For me the primary friendship cards in the Sibilla are Domestico and L’Amica.

Another way Fedeltà differs from the Lenormand dog is that it will never represent your pet dog in a reading. Similarly, Falsità will never represent your cat. Well, I hate to say never, because at times I have seen never actually happen in a Sibilla reading. So let’s just say these cards do not traditionally represent domesticated animals. In Sibilla the card Bambino (Baby) is used to represent a beloved pet. Some readers will use Fedeltà for feral animals, but I have not had this issue come up personally.

In health readings Fedeltà is always good news when upright. It indicates that whatever medications or treatments are applied will have the desired affect leading to an improved condition. If reversed, the medications or the therapy may be ineffectual.

As I mentioned above, Fedeltà when reversed is not a happy sight. If you want to know if your honey is cheating, this is the card to look for. It warns of infidelity in a relationship and treachery in a friendship. It represents cheating and double-dealing. With a person card, it reveals a false friend or an unfaithful lover. Fedeltà reversed can also represent a relationship on the rocks. In general things do not turn out as planned, and plans are not fulfilled as agreed, whenever Fedeltà shows up in the reversed position. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t get what you want, but it’s certainly not going to go the way you hoped.

Reading Reversals with the Sibilla Oracle Cards

The eternal question: must I read reversals? Also: is it considered traditional to read reversals? What if I choose to use upright meanings only?

When first introduced to the Italian Sibilla cards, I studied a method that utilized upright meanings only. I later encountered the method that also employs reversals, and I discovered that both approaches can be considered traditional in Italy where the oracle was created— based on the earlier Austrian Gypsy Cards.

It is interesting to note that La Vera Sibilla by Masenghini, a very popular deck in Italy, does not have a two-way card back design. In other words, it is clear if a card is upright or reversed when viewed from the back. This leads me to wonder if perhaps these particular cards were designed originally for use with upright meanings only. There are well-respected, esoteric, Italian writers such as Pier Luca Pierini R. and Negri Mirko who include only the upright meanings in their works on Sibilla.

Conversely, most Italian readers of Sibilla that I’ve encountered do utilize reversals. My favorite book on La Vera Sibilla by Alessandra Venturi teaches an oral tradition of using reversals. Also, I have seen older versions of the Sibilla deck from the 19th Century which do have bidirectional backs. These facts support the idea that reversed meanings have also been in long use.

You may have noticed that most of my readings feature upright cards only. Regardless, I do also use reversals. I choose to use reversals for several reasons. First, the meanings of some of the cards are slightly different if you don’t use reversals– most notably, Suberbia (2 of Clubs). In the system with only upright meanings, Suberbia is not generally considered to be a positive card. It can represent pride and arrogance and vanity. When using reversals, these negative meanings are ascribed to the card in the reversed position, and the upright peacock becomes a magical talisman of good fortune that can ameliorate the negative cards in a spread.

Another reason I choose to use reversals is because the reversed meanings can be quite positive. I’ve heard people complain that the Sibilla is weighted toward providing bad news. This can be true when using only the upright meanings. The advantage to using reversals is that the predominance of neutral and negative cards are offset by the positive reversed meanings. This creates a more balanced and well-rounded oracle.

I also like the distinction of reading the Sibilla court cards in the reversed position. They can be quite revealing. An upside-down court card will show a troubled person, or someone who is causing trouble for the querent. In love readings, a reversed court card can unveil an ulterior motive such as an interested in sex only– or in financial gain rather than true love.

Choosing to use reversed cards created a dilemma for me: I have always disliked using reversals. The process of randomizing the cards to include reversals seems affected and unnatural to me. So I adopted what I like to call the natural process of generating reversed cards. I never manipulate the cards to create reversals. Instead I allow the process of working with the cards to naturally produce reversals. When I return a reversed card to the deck, I always restore it to its upright position. As a result, reversals can be rare in my readings, but when they do appear they are particularly significant.

It seems to me that if synchronicity can ensure that the right cards appear in the right order in a spread, then the powers that be can also ensure that a reversed card will show up when needed. This process of natural reversals has produced good results for me. When a card does show up in a reading– and they do show up more often than you might think, it always proves to be highly significant in answering the matter at hand. For this reason, I always take special note of an upside-down card in a spread.

So unlike other oracle decks, where traditional readers may consider it blasphemous to read reversals, you can choose to read the Sibilla upright only or with reversals, and still call yourself a traditional Sibilla reader.

On the subject of tradition. Most older fortunetelling systems come with years of tradition. The traditions are important because the established techniques work. They have been proven time and again over generations. But to make the oracle work for you, you will also have to make it your own. Learn the traditions, but don’t be afraid to experiment to find your own unique style.

Government Shutdown Forever?

I was listening to a political podcast last night which mentioned the possibility of the current government shutdown extending into March of this year. The idea struck terror in my heart for all of the affected government workers trying to subsist without a paycheck during the extended time. To find some peace of mind, I asked the Gypsy Oracle Cards: “Will the government shutdown end within the next 30 days?”

Sibilla della Zingara (Gypsy Oracle Cards)
© 2001 Lo Scarabeo

The Gypsy Oracle was my first Vera Sibilla deck. I acquired it in 2005 when I began working seriously with the Italian Sibilla cards. Actually, my very first Sibilla was the Tavaglione Oracolo della Sibilla deck, but that is not a true Sibilla. Although I generally prefer to work with La Vera Sibilla, this Gypsy Oracle deck will always hold a special place in my heart.

I was pleased to see so many positive cards in the spread. In a five card spread I always look first to the center card, which I call the hinge of the reading. This card will show the energies and influences affecting the situation during the suggested time frame. Gran Consolazione is a card of wishes fulfilled. I see this as good news because it is my wish for the shutdown to end as soon as possible.

Next I look to the final card in the sequence which will usually reveal the outcome of the matter in question. Vecchia Signora is an elderly woman, over 60 years old. Hmm… Nancy Pelosi comes to mind. She’s got to be sixty if she’s a day– more likely seventy. But more importantly, this is a card of natural conclusions and endings, and an ending is exactly what I’m asking about.

As for the rest of the cards…

LAmica is an interesting card. It can represent a female friend, or friendship in general. It can also represent helpfulness, harmony and cooperation; particularly when describing an organization with a common agenda. Intuitively, I take this card to represent cooperation in the House and the Senate.

In the context of this reading, I see La Lettera as a legislative document. La Lettera represents a friendly (bi-partisan) bill that will finally be fulfilled, thereby ending the shutdown. The cards don’t specify whether Trump will finally give in, or if enough Republicans will join the Democrats to override his veto. The cards do suggest that it’s probably the latter.

LAmica reflects Vecchia Signora. This shows an affinity between these two cards. It is cooperation that leads to the end to this dreaded shutdown. Dono di Pietre Prezioze represents a gift or a proposal. In the context of this reading, I see it as a legislative proposal. La Lettera reflects Dono di Pietre Prezioze. It is the proposed bill that brings the natural conclusion to the situation within the specified time frame.

The Sibilla Cards seem very clear-cut (as usual). Of course we know that this government shutdown cannot last forever, but the cards are fairly obvious in promising an end to the shutdown within the next 30 days. In prediction, timing is always somewhat tricky. But I find that setting a time frame as part of the question generally provides good results. Fingers crossed.

Cards are the human condition and should not be “updated”

Excellent article by Stella about the importance of understanding the cultural significance of a traditional fortune telling system. If you want an updated oracle, then create one yourself. When you try to update the existing archetypes of an established system, you destroy its power.

"fate keeps on happening"

We were having an interesting discussion over at the Cartomancy Forum and I thought I’d post it here. Longish, meandering version: Donna Maritata

Short version: somebody wrote a bogus book (that will sell nonetheless, because there’s next to nothing in english) that “updated” the Sibilla’s Donna Maritata (Married Woman) to “Independent Career Women”.

And THAT, friends, totally loses the card essence.

She’s a person card, and she’s married or in a committed relationship (with a human, not a business), Giovine Fanciulla is young, Nemica is malicious, and so forth. Very simple. Cards that depict various livelihoods might describe her, but they could just as easily describe any of the other people cards.

Anyway, if you made her “independent”, you’d need another card for a stay at home mom, one for a woman drawing unemployment, one for a woman collecting disability, etc. And you’d have to do that with all the…

View original post 212 more words

Musings on Presente di Pietre Preziose/Omaggio di preziosi

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The 3 di Quadri (3 of Diamonds) in La Vera Sibilla is one of my favorite cards in the deck. In the oldest surviving decks from the late 19th Century, this card is called Presente di Pietre Preziose (Present of Precious Stones), and it corresponds to the 3 of Diamonds in the playing card deck.

In the 1970s an edition of La Vera Sibilla was published by Masenghini with this card renamed as “Omaggio di Preziosi (Tribute of Precious things), and associated with the 8 di Quadri (8 of Diamonds) instead. The 3 of Diamonds in the Masenghini deck is replaced with Donna di Servizio (Servant Woman), which is associated with the 8 of Diamonds in the older traditional decks.

Interestingly despite the swap to Donna di Servizio in the Masenghini Sibilla, the 3 of Diamonds still features the keywords “Regalo-Pietre preziose (Gift/Precious Stones). So there appears to be some confusion in meaning between these two cards in the 1970s Sibilla.

Anyway, the thing I love about Presente di Pietre Preziose is that is so useful. It can represent so many diverse things. It is the card to use when you need to represent any object or personal possession, for example when reading on a lost or missing item.

In a general reading this card can denote that a gift is on the way. With Messagiere you can expect a package in the mail. Specifically, Presente di Pietre Preziose can represent a piece of jewelry. With the 5 of Hearts (Allegrezza al Cuore) it will represent an engagement ring or an engagement taking place. With the Ace of Clubs (Imeneo), it’s a wedding ring. If you work with quartz crystals and gemstones, this is the card that will represent them in a reading. In a spiritual reading, this is the card that tells me which crystals would benefit the querent.

In traditional Sibilla cartomancy some cards bear a positive influence on surrounding cards in a spread, and some will negatively affect their neighbors. In a general sense, Fiori (Clubs) tend to be dominantly positive, and Picche (Spades) tend towards negativity. But most cards are considered to be neutral and are at the mercy of these more dominant influences.  Presente di Pietre Preziose is a neutral card, although it tends to be more auspicious in financial readings, and less favorable in romantic situations.

When positively influenced, Presente di Pietre Preziose is an excellent card to find in a reading for work or money. It can represent an advantageous proposal or a lucrative offer. It brings the idea of wealth, opulence and luxury to surrounding cards. The overflowing box of jewels looks sumptuously rich.

If this card falls next to a person card, it describes that person as wealthy. Next to Casa, it describes an expensive home, and with Viaggio it represents a luxury car. But when surrounded by negative cards the offers and proposals can sour, and the luxury items can turn out to be without true value. Presente di Pietre Preziose with Falsità can represent a fake diamond ring or other glass baubles and costume jewelry. With Il Ladro,  it’s a warning of the loss or theft of something valuable.

Presente di Pietre Preziose is generally not a welcome card in a love relationship reading because it indicates a focus on material advantage rather than emotional fulfillment. When this card appears in reading about a troubled relationship, it will show a general lack of compatibility. The partners want different things, and are more focused on their own individual ambitions than on each other.

In health readings, the 3 of Diamonds will usually show a successful outcome of the prescribed treatment. Because it is predominantly a financial card, it can sometimes show out of pocket expenses or insurance issues when accompanied by unfavorable cards. In my own readings, Presente di Pietre Preziose has come to represent a very specific medical condition.

I suffer the distinct misfortune of regularly spawning kidney stones, and the 3 of Diamonds can make me shiver and sweat when it appears in my daily card draw.  I recently drew the daily combination of Presente di Pietre Preziose with Ladro (Thief) and La Nemica (the Female Enemy).  My immediate impression was that a woman would steal something of value from me, or perhaps a warning not to lose the lapiz pendant I wear on a chain around my neck, which would cause me anger and upset.

I suppose I was subconsciously blocking the true message in these cards because I did not want to contemplate the misery to come. In a matter of hours I was bent over in agony on the way to the hospital with a 4mm stone stuck in my ureter. The warning in the cards could not have been any clearer.

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The cards show the stone (Presente di Pietre Preziose) being passed out of my body (Ladro) with sharp pain (La Nemica). The Female Enemy who is brandishing a blade in her left hand will often represent sharp pain in my daily cards– either physical or emotional.

When I’m trying to locate a lost item, I use the 3 of Diamonds to represent the missing object– unless it’s some kind of document which may be better represented by the card Lettera. Of course for a missing person I will use a person card, and for a missing pet I always use Bambino— I was taught that Fideltà and Falsità are never used to represent domestic pets, even though these cards include the images of a dog and a cat respectively. Naturally I also use Bambino to represent a child.

For locating missing objects I like to use the Lost Man Spread. I set my intention that the 3 of Diamonds will represent the item in question, shuffle the cards while I focus on the location of the lost object, and then spread the deck face up on the table and search the position of the 3 of Diamonds. The cards that appear next to Presente di Pietre Preziose– usually the first two or three on the left and those few directly on the right– will provide descriptions of where the item can be found.

When my nephew lost his DS game console I drew the following spread to help locate the missing toy. Presente di Pietre Preziose was surrounded by Casa and Bambino on the left, and Ammalato and Falsità on the right. Casa confirmed for me that the item was somewhere to be found inside the house. Bambino immediately suggested that baby brother had something to do with the disappearance of the gaming device.

Ammalato led us on an unsuccessful search of the three-year-old’s bedroom. Then it occurred to me that Falsità will usually represent a cupboard or enclosed storage space, and Allegrezza al Cuore suggests an area for dancing and play… THE TOY BOX in the playroom!!!

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Well, we were disappointed when a thorough search of the toy box turned out to be a waste of time, but the missing game device did eventually turn up. It was found in the playroom under the baby brother’s trampoline!  In retrospect, it makes good sense. An enclosed (Falsità) bed (Ammalato) used for jumping and dance and play (Allegrezza al Cuore)! The Sibilla can represent anything in life. The trick is learning to puzzle out the correct message.

The combination of Presente di Pietre Preziose with Allegrezza al Cuore reminds me that the 3 of Diamonds can also represent natural gifts and talents. It can reveal where we shine like a precious stone. I was surprised once in a reading when the cards predicted a marriage engagement with the classic combination of Allegrezza al Cuore and Presente di Pietre Preziose. 

The client was confused because she was wholly dedicated to her career, and she had no intentions for marriage. She was not even involved in a steady relationship. It all made sense when it was revealed that the woman was a professional dancer, and the cards were highlighting her talents (Presente di Pietre Preziose) as a dancer (Allegrezza al Cuore), and predicting a fabulous opportunity on the way for a new gig and the advancement in her career.

I also love that Presente di Pietre Preziose is one of the few cards in the Quadri suit that retains its general positivity when reversed, but its influence is still considered neutral. With favorable cards, it promises slow improvement. No matter how difficult the situation appears at the moment, all will be resolved satisfactorily in time. But beware! With negative cards the reversed 3 of Diamonds may show greed and avarice. With the reversed Donna Maritata it describes the proverbial gold digger. With reversed Gran Signore, it’s the stereotypical tight-fisted cheapskate.

Fate Will Keep Us Together

As tends to be the case with most daily cards, today’s Sibilla card draw can mean several different things. But my first impression– and I find that when it comes to the cards, the first impression is usually the correct impression– is that these cards refer to a blossoming romance.

I know, I know… this may seem odd since there is not a single love or partnership card in the trio, but this is a situation that has been on my mind steadily for the past few days– and the Sibilla have a tendency to address the issues ruminating in my head (at least I find this to be true of my own daily card draws).

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Domestico is a young man– usually no more than 30 years old. He is someone already known to me. Donna di Servizio represents a woman who may be a professional contact, or someone new who is entering my life. Fortuna reversed shows a slowly developing good luck between them, and perhaps the gentle nudge of fate bringing them together.

I learned the other day that my nephew– the one who recently broke off his engagement with his fiancée– is now dating someone new. Apparently he is smitten. I have not yet met the girl, but I understand that she shares his obsessive interest in race cars.

In fact, they met through work related to custom car tuning and performance. Perhaps it’s not so odd that each is represented in the spread by “work” cards– he as the Domestic Servant, and she as the Handmaiden.

Looking at the cards, I can’t help but notice that although La Donna is moving toward Domestico, offering a lovely bouquet of flowers, she looks away, behind her shoulder, perhaps toward the past. Also because both appear as Domestico and Donna di Servizio, and not as L’ Amante and L’ Amatrice, I have the impression that they may not have strong romantic feelings for each other.  The attachment may be more sexual. With Fortuna reversed, perhaps the romantic feelings will slowly develop over time.

The message I get from today’s daily cards (the answer to the unasked question that has been rolling around in my head) is that this new woman may not be the great love of my nephew’s life, but she is good for him right now. They share a lot in common, and there may be a higher force guiding their connection.

Bridle the Sacred Flames

The thing about daily cards is that they can often be interpreted in various different ways. I believe that is what makes this practice such a great learning tool for mastering any oracle.

But in the end the message in the daily cards is usually something personal, and a bit abstract– and almost always painfully mundane

For example, my Sibilla cards for today might represent buying an old house.

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La Vecchia Signora + Casa = old house… and Imeneo can represent a business contract. If Dispiacere reversed showed up nearby, it would confirm the signing of papers.

Maybe a visit to the home of a married couple?

Perhaps an older female relative is getting hitched?

Will I learn today that an ex is shacking up?

Nah…

I’m pretty sure I know what today’s cards are talking about…

It’s a personal matter concerning a rundown (La Vecchia Signora) air conditioning unit in my home (Casa) that can no longer control the heat (notice those flames on the Imeneo image).

The unit needs to be replaced– Florida summers are hot.. hot…HOT! In the meanwhile, yesterday we did some maintenance on the blessed contraption.

In a general sense Imeneo is a positive card of improved circumstances. I have the impression that these cards are letting me know that the air conditioner’s performance will be improved today.

Symbolically the AC will control the sun’s heat in the house the way the ancient Roman altar in the image on the Imeneo card bridles the sacred flames.

Yay!!!

You have no idea how important this news is to me today!

To Cleanse or not to Cleanse?

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I received an email question from a blog reader asking if it is necessary to cleanse and consecrate a new Sibilla deck before using. In my opinion, it is really a matter of personal preference based on your own spiritual beliefs.

I know quite a few spiritual workers who would not dream of using a fortune telling deck until it has been properly cleansed and consecrated.

My grandmother was a reader of playing cards. She would not use a new playing card deck until it was cleansed– or what she called “grounded.” Her process was to wrap the new deck in a brown paper bag (it had to be paper), and bury it in the ground before moonrise. The deck could not be retrieved until the moon had set again the following day.

She believed that the earth would draw away any negativity or any unwanted vibrations from the cards that could potentially interfere the efficacy of the deck. According to my grandmother, you could also ground a deck if it was “misbehaving,” or giving indecipherable or inaccurate information.

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A hole in the dirt with shovel on ground by Joseph Belanger

I used my grandmother’s process for years. I remember one winter the ground froze overnight, and I was unable to retrieve my buried deck the following day. Actually I think it was several days before the ground thawed enough for me to dig out those cards. After that experience, I always made sure to have an extra grounded deck on hand before winter set in. Back in the day, playing cards had a tendency to wear out more quickly than the plastic, linen-coated cards of today.

In time I stopped grounding my cards– due to the inconvenience and lack of privacy of apartment living, and the awkwardness of trying to bury the cards in a house plant. I honestly never experienced any difference whatsoever in the feel or the efficacy of my reading decks.  There is always a period of “breaking in the deck,” but once that connection is made, I have never had to ground a playing card deck for “misbehaving.”

I understand that it’s traditional in Italy to consecrate and purify fortune telling decks– usually with incense, candle flame, salt, etc. I’ve also read stories on Italian language websites of other more elaborate processes for consecrating the Sibilla deck, including the use of holy water and frequent trips to the local church.

My first Sibilla teacher was an elderly lady who had immigrated to the United States from Italy. She was a pragmatic woman, and had been a friend of my grandmother. When I asked her about cleansing the Sibilla deck, her response was that I did not need to worry about such things, the deck would in fact cleanse me.

Another one of my teachers, the esteemed YouTube instructor, Etienne Valancourt says that creating a physical and spiritual connection with the cards is most important. He says that this can be accomplished by repeatedly handling, shuffling, contemplating the card images, etc.

If it is part of your belief system or spiritual tradition that the cards should be cleansed and consecrated, then you should certainly follow what feels right to you. Anything that will enhance your personal connection with the cards will be beneficial.

Whether or not you choose to cleanse and consecrate, the deck should be treated with respect and care. I like to keep my cards wrapped in silk– a tradition from my grandmother that I have kept.

I know a playing card reader who wraps her reading deck in a rubber band and tosses it in the junk drawer when not in use. She also allows her children to play card games with her deck. Not surprisingly, her readings reflect her lack of respect for the tools of her craft.

I personally don’t utilize any formal process for cleansing or consecrating my own reading decks. But I do like to keep a chunk of the gemstone Blue Kyanite sitting on my Sibilla deck when not in use for the stone’s clearing and protective energies.

 

La Vera Sibilla Deck Reviews

My intention for this article is to share my musings on the currently available true Italian Sibilla decks that are reproductions of the oldest surviving La Vera Sibilla published in the late 19th century.

I will save the more modern and variant Italian Sibille, such as I misteri della Sibilla and Sibilla della Zingara for another time.

Every Day Oracle by Lo Scarabeo

I’ve decided that I really do prefer the Every Day Oracle by Lo Scarabeo for every day use. The coating on the cards is a bit waxy, but the card stock in really nice. It seems like these cards will last a long time, even with frequent Every Day use. I have been working with the same deck for the past six months, and the cards still look and feel new.

every day oracle 2

I also like that this deck is a faithful reproduction of the oldest mass printed  Sibilla deck still in existence from the late 19th century.

Be aware that there are two versions of the Every Day Oracle floating around. The original has white borders and superb card stock. But there is another version with black borders and thinner stock. The boxes for each version are identical, including the isbn number.

 

Every Day Comparison

The boxes are identical. The backside shows Cupid with the name of the deck in Italian and French

 

I suspect that the deck with black borders is newer, but I ordered an Every Day Oracle deck last March from Amazon.com and received a white-bordered version.  I had previously ordered one from the same company and received the black-bordered deck. It may be a game of chance if you desire a specific version.

La Vera Sibilla by Masenghini

I have to admit that I do prefer the size and vibrancy of La Vera Sibilla by Masenghini.

In her book, Italian Cartomancy, Alessandra Venturi writes that this deck was first published in the 1950s.

Vera Sibillla

I love the keywords that are printed on most of the cards in this deck. These keywords serve as helpful reminders of the less common meanings that are traditionally associated with the Italian Sibilla.  For example, I’m reminded that La Vecchia Signora (The Old Lady) can indicate a short visit.

The problem for me is that Masenghini needs to back off a little on the plastic coating. These cards could survive a nuclear holocaust! I would prefer this deck for every day use, but it is nearly impossible to riffle shuffle the entire stack. I’m a huge fan of the riffle shuffle because I find it to be the most effective method for randomizing the deck. With the  Masenghini cards, it’s like trying to shuffle a handful of credit cards.

Every time I use the Masenghini deck I can’t help but think about how much I would have appreciated this deck when I was a kid.

I used to clip baseball cards to the spokes of my bicycle tires so the wheels would make a cool snapping sound when I rode up and down the street. The spoke card made the bicycle sound cool like a motorcycle.

spoke card

Saved from cincinnatimagazine.com

Unfortunately baseball cards had very little protective coating. So they made a soft clicking, and would wear out fast.

The other kids on the block got to use playing cards, but I was not allowed. Playing cards were considered sacred in our house.

With extended use, these Masenghini cards do not become thickened– and soft and comfy like an old blanket– the way a good oracle deck should. Instead, the edges become dirty and the images begin to wear away from the surface of each card. The cards themselves do remain in excellent condition for snapping between the spokes of a bicycle tire though.

I’d love to get my hands on a vintage Masenghini deck that was published before they got crazy with the poly plastics.  You can recognize the older version by its borderless blue backs.

La Vera Sibilla Originale del 1890 by Il Meneghello

My favorite Vera Sibilla is the hand-crafted Sibilla Originale del 1890 from Il Meneghello. Like the Every Day Oracle it is a reproduction of the oldest known Sibilla, but the images have been recolored. I love the soft look of the hand coloring, and the delicate watercolor tinting.

originale

I use the Originale mainly for personal  readings only. These cards do not seem like they would hold up well to every day use. The look and feel of the protective coating reminds me more of a glossy photograph than a card meant for serious play.

I’ve also heard that with continued use the Sibilla Originale cards have the tendency to split and peel at the corners. I rounded the corners on my deck with the hope of avoiding this problem– I was also tired of being jabbed by those sharp corners.

Modern Vera Sibilla decks

Now that La Sibilla Italiana is starting to find some popularity in the English-speaking part of the world, it can’t be long before new, self-published Sibilla decks start to appear.

As long as the new Sibilla deck remains true to the card symbolism that is so important for understanding the cultural and historical significance of the oracle– and also remains true to the images that bear such a powerful influence on card meaning, I would not be adverse to trying a modern deck.